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Viewpoint: Why proposed cuts to SSI program are wrong

In this time of economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever that qualifying Americans in need of economic assistance have continued access to benefits provided for by government programs.

We have stressed in prior posts that Social Security Disability -- one of the main government programs that provides assistance -- is anything but a so-called “entitlement” program that is routinely taken advantage of by people who have no legitimate right to its benefits.

That simply couldn’t be further from the truth, given that only persons who have contributed to SSD through payroll taxes over a period of years can apply for benefits. Moreover, all successful applicants must be approved pursuant to a careful and lengthy process conducted by the Social Security Administration.

Obviously, not all Americans in need are eligible for SSD, and other programs necessarily fill the void. One of those is the Supplemental Security Income program, a very important initiative that helps to defray living costs and expenses for some elderly people, persons who are blind or have disabilities, and children. The SSI program is a vitally important lifeline for many low-income American households (please see our SSI-related blog post dated April 8, 2014).

In a recent opinion piece contributed to ThinkProgress (a noted liberal media publication) by a strong supporter of the SSI program, the point is stressed that SSI benefits often confer this twofold benefit: They increase the chance for child recipients to achieve self-sufficiency as adults through the vital services they provide, and in doing so reduce long-term costs for the larger taxpaying public.

Jonathan Stein also states that proposed cuts to the SSI program would have a draconian impact, precisely because SSI recipients are either disabled or already in dire financial straits. Stein notes that, as important as SSI money can be, the amount received in any given case is certainly modest; children receive a monthly average of about $600.00.

Keeping the program afloat and viable is flatly imperative, says Stein.

Eroding benefits, he states, “would be nothing short of devastating.”

Persons with questions about the Supplemental Security Income program can receive prompt and accurate information from an experienced SSI attorney.

Source: ThinkProgress, "Paul Ryan wants you to believe I support cutting a program for disabled children. Here's the truth," Jonathan Stein, April 2, 2014

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